Dickerson welcomes Rams to LA; Hinton wonders about the HOF

Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson (29) of the Los Angeles Rams carries the football during the Rams 27-21 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on October 16, 1983 at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, California. (AP Photo/NFL Photos)

Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson (29) of the Los Angeles Rams carries the football and looks for room to run during the Rams 14-10 victory over the Detroit Lions on October 19, 1986 at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, California. (AP Photo/NFL Photos)

(Eric Dickerson photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Rams)
(Chris Hinton photo courtesy of Indianapolis Colts)

Talk of Fame Network

With the Hall-of-Fame’s preliminary list of 94 modern-era players and coaches released, our  Talk of Fame Network guys went over it with a fine-toothed comb this week and came up with a guy you may not consider but should — someone who made the Pro Bowl seven times and at three positions.

Former Indianapolis Colts’ offensive lineman Chris Hinton.

Yet those feats are not what he’s most remembered for. When you think Chris Hinton, what you recall is this: He was the key player the Colts received in the blockbuster 1983 deal that sent to John Elway to Denver.

Hinton says it still comes up in conversation and his teammates often used to remind him they could have been playing with Elway. “The blessing was I’m the guy they traded Elway for,’’ Hinton said on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast. “The curse is I’m the guy they traded Elway for.’’

Hinton admits he felt pressure after the trade was made but quickly adds it’s a relative matter.

“Pressure is playing at Northwestern and going 4-40 and still managing to be the fourth pick in the draft,’’ he said.

chrishinton-jpegHinton was the first offensive lineman to reach the Pro Bowl at three, left tackle, left guard and right tackle, and one would think that alone would be enough to reach Canton. But when your teams go a combined 57-70, and you are a star at multiple positions, well, “It hurt me,’’ he says.

On the flip side, Eric Dickerson played only one position, and it didn’t hurt him. Dickerson was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1999, retiring as the NFL’s No. 2 all-time rusher. He still holds the single-season record with 2,105 yards, a mark that has stood for 32 years, as well as the rookie rushing record of 1,808.

Dickerson visited the TOF guys to talk about the return of the Rams to Los Angeles and what it will take for them to win back their former fans.

“It comes down to how competitive they are,’’ Dickerson said. “If the record is 9-7 or 8-8 (they’ll be fine).  But if it’s 4-12, 6-10 it could be tough. In LA, there’s a lot of things to do, and the Rams haven’t been here in 22 years. Fans are like: ‘You can’t just expect us to be here when they come back.’’’

Dallas rookie running back Ezekial Elliott has said his goal this season is to break Dickerson’s rookie rushing record set in 1983, and while Dickerson spoke glowingly of him, when asked about that record he joked, “Do I want him to break that record? No, I don’t.’’

NFL historian John Turney of Pro Football Journal weighs in with his opinions of the preliminary list of 94, arguing that Ty Law and Brian Dawkins may be the two most deserving names on the list. Hosts Clark Judge, Rick Gosselin and Ron Borges weigh in with theirs, too, particularly over the inclusion of Darren Sharper despite serving 18 years in prison for multiple rapes as well as whether former San Diego Chargers’ running back LaDainian Tomlinson is a slam dunk, first-ballot Hall of Famer.

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